Plan to convert school into luxury apartments approved

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Unified School Board of Education voted to move forward with a controversial real estate deal on an old school site in Scripps Ranch.

The vote was 4 to 1, with Board President Kevin Beiser as the dissenting vote.  The board vote to move forward with the Scripps Mesa Joint Occupancy Project.

The project would be located at the site of what was formerly the Ellen Browning Scripps Elementary School.

Under the project, the district will lease the land for 66 years to the Monarch Group, a private real estate investment and development firm out of La Jolla.

The Monarch Group has plans to turn the 6.7-acre site into a 300,000 square foot 264 luxury apartment complex.  The complex would also incorporate commercial, retail and also a community garden.

“That’s one thing we really share is we really want this project to stop.

Tuesday night, about 30 residents attended the board meeting voicing opposition to the project.

“It’s just not a real good community fit,” said Lori Moore.

Moore has lived in Scripps Ranch her entire life, she said the project is simply too large for the neighborhood.

“The building is more than twice the height or any other building in our zip code.  It’s far too tall far too dense to jive with the way the rest of our community functions,” said Moore.  “Not to mention, the traffic and congestion it will bring.”

Currently, Innovations Academy, a charter school is operating at the school site.  The district has set aside $20 million for a future permanent school site.  Residents said to displace students now is wrong.

“It’s a very sad day when the school board puts housing before education,” said Loraine Burley.

The plan could bring in $40 million in revenue for the district, earning $425,000 from renting out the property per year.  Developers said dozens of meeting have been held with residents to address all concerns. Going forward, Monarch Group said it would continue to work with the community.

“Our goal at Monarch is to make sure we incorporate all residents’ input and build the best project for the community and in this case the best project available for the school district,” said Laura Fink, Spokesperson.

District officials said construction on the project is set to begin July 2019.